It was a point of pride that the Stark County Political Report wore yesterday, when, in a "frank - to say the least" conversation with Republican Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar as another county official (unelected) said (a paraphrase): "you know Martin has been consistent in his insistence that all Stark County political subdivision jobs (county, city, township, board of education et cetera) be offered to the general Stark County taxpaying public."
Over the six years plus of the publication of the SCPR, yours truly has done quite a few blogs in which The Report is of the opinion that a job was given to a politically connected person and the general taxpaying public was never provided an opportunity to apply.
It appears to the SCPR that all too many Stark County officials see their authority to hire and fire as being their private fiefdom and "the public be damned!"
And the phenomenon cuts across political party lines.
Yesterday's SCPR exchange with Zumbar concerned plan (PLAN) offered by Zumbar to have the Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation (SCLRC, a non-profit quasi-governmental corporation) to hire his chief deputy treasurer and former Stark County treasurer (August 23, 2010 - September 20, 2010) Jaime Allbritain as an - get this - "an independent contractor" to do the administrative/financial accounting work of the SCLRC.
The Report's objection?
That the contract was not put out for bid for the private sector to have an opportunity to bid on.
It is a bit ironic that arch-conservative Republican Alex Zumbar does not favor bidding out the project whereas the political "middle-of-road" SCPR does.
Conservative Republicans are known for their worship of the private sector and insistence that if the job can be done by the private sector then, by golly, government needs to stand off and have private enterprise do what it does better than any government can hope to do, that is, a much more efficient and effective job.
It is a bit curious to the SCPR that Zumbar is taking an opposite of what one would expect of him given what is undoubtedly his underlying political philosophy, apparently, when it comes to others.
The Report suspects that the SCLRC job is seen by Zumbar as an opportunity for Zumbar to beef up Allbritain's income (potentially up to $25,000 per annum) inasmuch as it seems to the SCPR that she is not all that well paid for being a chief deputy to Zumbar.
Although the SCPR has in the past rated Zumbar very high as a steward of the public trust, he has come under criticism from the Stark County commissioners and, of course, in this blog now by The Report.
The SCPR does think well of Zumbar's administration of the treasury in general and has written quite of few blogs to such effect over the years he has been treasurer.
However, as readers of The Report know, nobody, absolutely nobody, is immune from the critical eye of The Stark County Political Report.
In The Report's animated talk with Zumbar yesterday, he gave a laundry list of reasons why in his view it was of critical importance for the SCLRC to approve the "independent contractor" status for Allbritain.
From the SCPR's standpoint none of the offered reasons and rationale stand up to The Report's insistence and position that a responsible public official has a duty to make county/township/board of education employment/appointment available to each and Stark County taxpaying citizen.
While it appears to be legal to do what the Zumbar's plan supposes to do, it is to the SCPR an arrogation of political/government power that is demonstrated all too often by Stark County political subdivision officials.
And the SCPR thinks that the taxpaying public should start thinking of making a point to these local government officials and speaking to them in terms they clearly understand by increasingly refusing to approve tax increase measures.
It is not a happy day for the SCPR to start advocating in such a manner.
The State of Ohio (Republican John Kasich's administration) has devastated local government funding to the point that local governments have no choice but to ask taxpayers across Stark County's cities, villages and boards of education as well as special taxing districts to make up for the state's bailout.
The county itself has a renewal of the Justice System Sales Tax (JSST) coming up in 2019.
That date seems a long ways away, but to use the truism "it will be here before anyone thinks."
The county commissioners have worked hard to rein in those county officials who want to break the budget in handing out in excess of the county's 2% guideline raises.
And the SCPR has worked hard to ensure that all Stark County taxpaying citizens has an opportunity to get taxpayer supported work.
The Report has excoriated:
- Rick Campbell of the Stark County recorder's office,
- Nancy Reinbold, the Stark County clerk of courts,
- George T. Maier (Stark's appointed sheriff by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee),
- Canton mayor William J. Healy,
- Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro Perry,
- Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr,
- Stark County auditor Alan Harold,
- North Canton City Council,
- Canton Local's Board of Education,
- Canton clerk of courts Phil Giavasis,
- Plain Township's trustees,
- Jackson Township's trustees, and
- Zumbar previously
As extensive as the list is, undoubtedly there have been others in the 2500 blogs published by the SCPR in six plus years that yours truly does not recall at the moment. Moreover, there undoubtedly have been quite of number of hirings that involved political influence which have not come to the attention of the SCPR.
If Zumbar's plan goes through without first bidding the PLAN to the private sector, then as far as the SCPR is concerned what Zumbar is doing is tantamount to an "in your face" to the Stark County taxpaying public.
What alternative do Stark County taxpayers have other than think once, twice, three times about whether or not to grant new revenues to those who do what appears to be "inside dealing" with public jobs?